Sew Day

Saturday was a sewing bee to use up the stash of our friend Kathy Sheldon, making quilts for charity. She would have had so much fun with us, so we enjoyed ourselves as much as possible using her fabric!

There were a number of people sewing, some cutting, some pressing and people came and went so I’m not sure of any totals.

Sue Gilmore, Kathy’s sister, got things set up and rolling.

We acted goofy when Jim tried to take a group picture!

Sue and Kathy’s relatives came in from the west side of the state, too!

Everything was done quilt as you go, with a table in front to show us how to do several strip piecing options.

As a block was finished, we rang the bell and counted the blocks. We finished enough blocks for two quilts and got started on a third!

And of course we had food!

My job became the ‘assembler’ since I know a very easy way to put those blocks together, thanks to Mari at The Quilting Edge. Here’s a link to the tutorial http://www.thequiltingedge.com/p/tutorials.html

Sue hopes to organize another sew day soon, but my calendar is pretty full and I’m not sure I’d make it. However, I’ll fill the gap by taking care of the ‘homework’–pretty appropriate since Kathy was a teacher!

You know how I just said the other day that I’m tired of working with scraps? Somehow it’s different and okay to be working with someone else’s scraps and making quilts for charity!

Scrap strip QAYG

After talking to my friend Sue about her plans to sew up her late sister’s stash, I was inspired to put my money where my mouth is and sew up some of my own scraps! (FYI, local people–we will be working on making charity quilts from Sue and her sister Kathy’s fabric on Saturday, April 22. Email me if you would like more info!)

I thought making things Quilt As You Go would be a super fast way to use a lot of fabric and have things quilted and pieced at the same time.

My plan was to make a baby quilt out of the pile of bright scraps that I had culled from my stash. Do I need to tell you that I have more fabric than I thought I did? More about that dilemna later…So, you start with a chunk of backing fabric, which for me was a yard of a stripe. I cut it into three strips, width of fabric, each about 12″ wide. On top of each strip I placed a corresponding strip of batting and then proceeded to sew and flip scrap strips at an angle across the strip. As you can see, the strips don’t have to be the same width at all, either.

 

I started in the middle of each strip and kept adding out from each side until the backing was covered. Here’s what my first two strips looked like.

And you can see that they are quilted when you look at the back.

They don’t always have to be placed on an angle, of course. They can be straight across, which means the strips can be a few inches shorter.

Before and after trimming…just trim along the edge if you started with a nice, straight piece, or trim to a size you want.

I’m not going to give you the QAYG instructions here, but I’ll give you the link to the master of the easy QAYG!

http://www.thequiltingedge.com/p/tutorials.html

Now I have a small quilt, about 34 x 40. I could simply bind it and pass it along to the next person who needs a baby quilt. OR I could continue to use up the pile of bright scraps that never seems to get any smaller! This method allows me to add more sections, or borders, or even insert a section down the middle, as long as I want to continue. You may be able to see that I added some additional quilting down the length of each strip and I may add even a bit more, because I like a lot of quilting. However, it has sufficient stitching in the construction that it really doesn’t need any more.

This took me one afternoon to make, so that you have an idea of how quickly this goes. I hope we can make a huge dent in the fabric that Sue has…I’m sure Kathy would approve of using her stash this way!

What a good day!

I finished the quilting on the orange and white quilt. That was a good thing. And THEN…

I got the binding done on the orange and white AND the triangle quilt!

Of course I do my binding all by machine, but it was still a good feeling to get both quilts finished!

Took a quick look at the pile of scraps I had on the table before the retreat weekend and I think I’ll go ahead and work on a quilt using them up.

Here’s the start—

Not too exciting, is it? There will be lots more next time! Quilt as you go, strippy scraps, bright colors…how much fun can I handle?!!!

Discovering UFO’s

Our Creative Seasons art quilt group celebrated 10 years together this week. We were supposed to bring in any UFO’s that were that old or older. Very interesting to see what everyone brought. And I was very interested to see what I had on my shelves! I hung up the ones that I think I might finish someday!!!

There were more than a few that I will absolutely never finish, and those are going to the charity quilt table at the guild.  I will never, ever finish these, but there were not as many as I thought. I feel guilty about putting them on the charity quilt table without finishing them for charity, but I just cannot get motivated to even start on these particular tops! Someone else may really like them…hey! It could happen!

I even found one that I have absolutely NO memory of ever making! I know I made it, because it’s all from fabrics that I had and used, but any conscious thoughts of making it? Nope!

These two were mystery quilts, made at retreats. I had fun making them, but whenever you make a mystery quilt, your fabric choices are not always the best fit for the eventual result.

These next two were a pattern I was teaching at the quilt store. I didn’t like the first one, so I made the second and I like it much better. The first one is large enough for a charity quilt and the second one may make it to a shelf in my closet!

This top was one of the first ones I made when I started doing improv and curved seams. When I got it on the wall, it was quite different than I remembered it! I do still like it, and it may get finished this summer.

I’ve pretty much always been a fan of pink, and this next one is really pink!

I even have the binding made for this one, as well as some others!

To get to the shelf that all these UFO’s were ‘marinating’ on, I had to move the box of unsorted scraps. I have regular scrap bins, sorted by color, but somehow the unsorted box stays just as full as can be! Well, whenever I touch that box, it seems that the elements of another quilt jump out. This time it was bright scraps from many children’s quilts made over the years.

Sigh! Whenever this happens, I feel COMPELLED to get a top made. Hope that box gets emptied someday soon!

There’s basting and then there’s basting…

Thread basting…glue basting…my preference is always going to be spray basting. On these first polka-dot pieces I wasn’t sure how I was going to construct them, so I started out with pinning. I knew that I did not want any fusible because it’s harder to stitch through, especially if you have multiple layers.

I picked out some really gorgeous threads to embroider with, too.

As I’m looking at them now, I may have to ask Denise to order more. I took the last she had of most of those skeins and I’m really falling in love with them.

Thinking….thinking…and I got out the glue stick and stuck some pieces down on the smaller piece. It’s about 20″ square or so, and I’ll feel better if that’s spray basted to the batting. If I were only doing machine stitching, it would be fine.

On the larger piece, I basted around the edges of each piece with thread. This piece is roughly a yard square and when I made the decision to hand stitch on batting, I just went ahead and spray basted it to the batting. Life is too short to spend it basting. I’d rather spend my time stitching with the pretty thread!

Ready to go!

So what’s the big deal with the basting, you ask? It’s an art quilt so what does it matter? Well, I have this idiosyncracy that if there is glue sprayed or glue stick spread, the glue must be washed out of the piece before it is hung up. Fusible–that doesn’t bother me at all, but other glues need to be washed. I have no idea how that will affect the threads I add because I usually avoid the issue and work on smaller pieces.

This will be an interesting experiment in the end…but that won’t be for quite a while. I plan on lots of stitching and nothing in a hurry!

Dots and decisions

This what I posted on Facebook earlier today:
I’m thinking of drawing out an idea and actually making templates for the construction…should I go to all that work or stick with my improv and maybe have raw edges and extra texture? I can visualize it both ways. Or maybe I should DO it both ways…so much work!

I couldn’t wait, so I went down, did a quick, rough sketch and started cutting fabric! I picked a background and laid out the design I sketched. I like it!

I didn’t take a picture while I had it on the design wall with the background. It’s pinned together now and I have to decide on my construction method…fusible, glue baste, pin, pin, pin, raw edge, finished with applique or satin stitch…This will sit for a bit while my little brain works through those decisions.

But there were SCRAPS! I do well with scraps because if it’s messed up, so what? It’s only scraps!

Two pieces for the background–

Add the circle cut out from the first project–

And then add a few leftover strips–

Same finishing decisions as the previous project, but this is fun! I’m so happy when I’m using up these little chunks of fabric. Looking forward to some embroidery, I believe, before these are done.

Aaaaah…’making’ again!

One more down

Finished the orange and blue quilt top today. Going to find a back for it and get it ready to quilt.

It will have a blue binding. I’m not sure what color thread I’ll quilt it with, though. The background looks yellow here, but it’s a nice soft orange in real life! It’s not huge and will make a good couch quilt.

Hmmm…there’s a wedding this summer…